The Blacksmiths Illustrated Manual is a good book to get started on a home shop. It calls itself a practical treatise on modern methods of production for blacksmith’s, apprentice blacksmiths, engineers and others.
It is heavy on tricks of the trade and is based upon real life experience.
From the introduction, the author stated:
In a sentence, I have endeavored to show, by illustration and text matter, how to obtain the length of material for a job, the tools required, and the operations necessary to complete the hob in the most expeditious manner.
The book link above goes to a modern reprinting of this work, and the pdf below is also a more modern reprint of the original.
If you are interested in blacksmithing, and don’t have a bunch of expensive power tools and hammers, then older reference books will serve you well.
There is nothing in this book that is out of the realm of practicality for a good home blacksmith with a decent shop. IF you want good general information on blacksmithing, then this blacksmiths illustrated PDF manual is a great place to start.
Personally I love beating on hot metal, I don’t get to do it as much as I like, and my setup is very crude, but it is a good stress relief.
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